<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major step, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is again in the process to float a tender with added features and relaxed conditions for partial privatisation of Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports.The bidding process that began early this year, after AAI had rejected Singapore’s Changi airport’s proposal to operate and maintain both airports, was extended several times, on various grounds.The AAI had received nearly 12 registrations including from international players until now but this step has raised number of questions. The AAI had invited Request for Proposal (RFP) from bidders for operation and maintenance of ‘select areas’ of the Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports late last year. The select areas include passenger terminal building, airport operations control centre, fire control room, kerb side approach road and passenger boarding bridges, apron area, including provision of ground handling services through approved ground handling and surface car park, among others, as per the bid document.Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI said, “We have had several interactions with potential bidders with an aim to find out their perceptions. Based on those, we have decided to add more conditions and features to the existing tender. The same is under the consideration by the Ministry and a decision is likely by this month end. Once approved, we will float the tender.”However, sources said the bidders have several issues with the tender terms and conditions and are not willing to come to Ahmedabad and Jaipur to manage.Sources say that the norms and conditions in the existing tender are extremely stringent due to which bidders fear a lot of interference from the AAI.An airport operator said, “Bidders want to have some development on the land processes. At present, the conditions are quite stringent. Out of 33 parameters, operator has to get more than 4.5 out of five on international scoring and if the score is less, then the airport authority will invoke a penalty clause. Now, things like overall experience at airport would differ and is a very generic term which is not measurable.”Speaking about the delay, chairman of Airlines Operator Committee (AOC) Shalin Joshipura feels that the partial privatisation will not be financially viable for the bidders.He said, “The delay has affected major projects at city airport here. For example, we have been demanding for a lounge but due to Operation and Maintenance it is pending. The present director has made changes, but more needs to be done. Airports like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad are doing well merely because they are entirely privatised. Either the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport should be entirely privatised or remain with AAI.”Manoj Gangal, Airport Director, SVPI, said, “Airport operation is a complete ecosystem and we have to coordinate to see how customs, immigration, airlines and other stakeholders perform together to give a good product to the customer. Hence, work of airport director becomes very challenging and important.”TIMELINE2015 – PM Narendra Modi suggests to rope in Changi airport2016 – Changi airport officials visit Ahmedabad, to study further2016 – AAI rejects Changi’s proposal2017 – AAI opens bids to private playersExtends deadline number of timesProposes to change the norms/conditions

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AAI to relax norms, float partial privatisation tender soon